Jean-Jacques Savin plans to sail to the Caribbean islands in a barrel-shaped capsule.
Measuring 3 metres by 2 metres, the capsule is made of resin-coated plywood, heavily reinforced to resist waves and attacks by orca whales.
"I've got a swell of one metre and I'm moving at two or three kilometres an hour," Jean-Jacques Savin told the press by telephone after setting off from El Hierro in Spain's Canary Islands.
Wine, foie gras and watching fish go by
Savin, a former pilot, had worked on his vessel for months in the small shipyard of Ares on France's southwest coast.
Inside the capsule is a six-square-metre living space which includes a kitchen, sleeping bunk and storage.
A porthole in the floor allows Savin to look at passing fish.
He has stowed away a block of foie gras and a bottle of Sauternes white wine for New Year's Eve, along with a bottle of red Saint-Emilion for his 72nd birthday on January 14.
Savin hopes currents will carry him naturally to the Caribbean without the need for a sail or oars -- "maybe Barbados, although I'd really like it to be a French island like Martinique or Guadaloupe," he quipped.
Crossing the Antarctica alone
An American adventurer has become the first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica without assistance of any kind.
Colin O'Brady, 33, took 54 days to complete the nearly 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) crossing of the frozen continent from coast to coast.
"I accomplished my goal: to become the first person in history to traverse the continent of Antarctica coast to coast solo, unsupported and unaided," O'Brady wrote in an Instagram post after covering the final 77.5 miles in 32 hours.
"While the last 32 hours were some of the most challenging hours of my life, they have quite honestly been some of the best moments I have ever experienced," he wrote.
His voyage was tracked by GPS, and live updates of the trip were provided daily on his website colinobrady.com.
O'Brady and an Englishman, army Captain Louis Rudd, 49, set off individually on November 3 from Union Glacier in a bid to be the first to complete a solo, unassisted crossing of Antarctica.